Update on Renter’s Reform Bill
Update on Renter’s Reform Bill
If you’ve heard about the Renter’s Reform Bill and want to find out more, take a look at our summary here.
What is the Renter’s Reform Bill?
Ultimately, the Renter’s Reform Bill is a piece of legislation which is set to transform the rental sector. As well as improving conditions, it will seek to redress the balance between landlords and tenants.
The government has published a white paper entitled ‘Fairer Private Rental Sector’. The principle of this publication is to improve rights and conditions for those in rented property. The government has revealed that 21% of tenants live in unfit homes. So, this legislation will extend the ‘decent homes standard’ to private rental properties.
The end of the Section 21 Notice
If you are a landlord, one of the biggest changes to be aware of with the Renter’s Reform Bill is the abolition of the Section 21 Notice. This now means that you will need to provide a valid reason to end a tenancy.
We believe there needs to be further clarity on the implications of the bill. But in principle, it appears to stipulate that tenants can only be served notice if they are in breach of their tenancy. That, or if the landlord needs to sell the property.
The other main point is that all tenancies will be transitioned to periodic tenancies. Therefore, tenancies can only be ended by the tenant serving 2 months’ notice to their landlord, or if the landlord has a valid reason, as defined by law.
A summary of the changes proposed
- Tenants will be given greater powers to seek recompense for non-decent homes.
- Tenants will be given stronger powers to challenge rent reviews.
- The required notice period for a rent review will be doubled.
- It will be illegal for landlords or agents to blanket ban renting to families or those in receipt of benefits.
- All tenants will have the right to request a pet in their home, which landlords cannot unreasonably refuse.
- Arbitrary rent review clauses will be banned.
- A Private Renters’ Ombudsman will be set up to arbitrate disputes.
What classifies a non-decent home?
The definition of a non-decent home is described as “free from the most serious health and safety hazards, such as fall risks, fire risks, or carbon monoxide poisoning”.
This definition goes on to state that the house must be ‘reasonably’ modern. It must also be insulated and in a reasonable state of repair.
The definition of non-decent is falling short of three of more of the following:
– A reasonably modern kitchen (20 years old or less)
– A kitchen with adequate space and layout
– A reasonably modern bathroom (30 years old or less)
– An appropriately located bathroom and WC
– Adequate insulation against external noise (where external noise is a problem)
– Adequate size and layout of common areas for blocks of flats.
When will the Renter’s Reform Bill come into force?
It is expected that the Renter’s Reform Bill will become law in this Parliamentary season but there is no clear timeframe. As we mentioned, there’s a lot still to consider. In the meantime, the paper states that at least 6 months of warnings will be given before the new rules are enforced.
If you are a landlord, we hope this will help you to prepare for such changes.
As estate agents who work with local landlords, we now await further clarification on these decisions and how the bill will be enacted. Watch this space for further updates.
If you are a landlord in the Altrincham area concerned about the Renter’s Reform Bill, you can talk through your circumstances with us. If we currently manage rental properties for you and you want to discuss the bill with us further, please do not hesitate to contact us.